Texas Appellate Law

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  It’s difficult for new lawyers to transition into legal practice, but appellate practice is especially tough. This sometimes deters firms from investing the time and resources necessary to train new appellate attorneys, particularly when they are between law school and future clerkships. But M.C. Sungaila, head of the appellate practice group at Buchalter, has developed a pilot fellowship program that seeks to address these issues. M.C. joins Todd Smith and Jody Sanders in this week’s episode to talk about how her fellowship program helps develop new attorneys for a future in appellate law. M.C. also provides her…
  With different court rules and practices being implemented in every state, lawyers do not necessarily encounter the same experience in general. To discover how the Oklahoma appellate law differs from Texas, Todd Smith and Jody Sanders sit down with lawyers Gabe Bass and Jana Knott. Together, they discuss the major contrasts of the field between the two states and how they cope with some regulations they think need some adjustments. They go deep on how their courts handle published and unpublished opinions, how court officials are elected or appointed, the common sources of their appellate work, and the…
  For over a decade, the Texas Supreme Court has tightened the proof necessary to recover attorney fees in Texas. That, coupled with Legislative expansion of fee shifting, makes understanding the standard even more important. This is particularly true about appellate fees, which, unlike federal court, must be estimated and proven before the appeal. This week, Todd Smith and Jody Sanders discuss the evolution of attorney-fee proof in Texas and ways attorneys can make the best record for both trial and appellate fees. — Listen to the podcast here: Tips and Traps When Recovering Appellate Attorney Fees We’ve gone quite…
  Every other year, the Texas Legislature meets to take on the State’s challenges. Few people follow that process more closely that Jerry Bullard of Adams, Lynch, and Loftin. Jerry’s years of experience and newsletter keep legal practitioners throughout the state on top of bills and laws that affect the way they practice. In his spare time, Jerry also chairs the State Bar Appellate Section. This week, he talks to Todd Smith and Jody Sanders about bills and potential legislative issues affecting legal practice and gives insight on what we might see this session. — Listen to the podcast here:…
  While some counties have many district courts, some district courts have many counties. Few judges have a larger territory to cover than Judge Roy Ferguson author of the 394th District Court. Given the size of his district, with few local attorneys, Judge Ferguson served as one of the early adopters of remote proceedings when COVID-19 hit. In this conversation with hosts Todd Smith and Jody Sanders, he shares how the adoption of virtual technology improved access to justice in his district and benefitted citizens, parties to litigation, and their counsel. Judge Ferguson also conducted one of Texas’s first…
  Growing up in meager circumstances, Judge Don Willett never imagined he would serve as the Tweeter Laureate of Texas or, more notably, as a justice on the Texas Supreme Court and now on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Willett credits his rise to the work ethic and sacrifices of his mother—a widow who worked long hours as a waitress to support him. Judge Willett applied that work ethic in both legal and policy jobs that put him on the path to the bench. In this week’s episode, Judge Willett talks with Todd Smith and Jody Sanders about his career path, his…
  Although private civil appellate practice can be its own niche, there are many ways to do it—solo or in a boutique, mid-sized firm, or large firm. While the basics remain the same, the individual experience may vary greatly depending on the practice setting. Todd Smith and Jody Sanders sit down with Reagan Simpson of Yetter Coleman LLP to compare and contrast each of their experiences in various practice settings. Both Todd and Reagan started at large firms, with Reagan transitioning through various settings into a boutique practice, while Todd found his way to solo practice. Jody has spent his career working at a mid-size firm. They…
  Legal writing and literary writing share a common goal—telling stories in a way that engages the reader. But too often, legal briefs get bogged down in detail and technical language. This causes the brief to lose both the story and the reader.  In this episode, Todd Smith and Jody Sanders talk with appellate attorney Jason Steed about how his experiences in creative writing and as an English professor help him prepare legal briefs that combine story with clear, concise legal writing. Jason also discusses ways to use tone and varying degrees of formality to keep the writing readable. —…
  For years, appellate attorneys and judges have stayed on top of the latest appellate news with the How Appealing blog. Howard Bashman, the attorney behind the blog, joins Todd Smith and Jody Sanders to share his journey into appellate law and starting his blog. Howard’s career has seen the full spectrum, starting as a clerk for Judge William Hutchinson of the Third Circuit, working at various-sized firms, and finally settling into solo practice. Howard shares stories about maintaining a successful solo practice, building client relationships, and some of his more memorable cases. — Listen to the podcast here:…